In the early 1970s, as Nigeria’s Federal Commissioner for Economic Development and Reconstruction, he took a leading part in the negotiations that brought the establishment of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Then, as Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) from 1975 through 1993, he actively promoted the creation of other regional groupings, including the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which subsequently became the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
He was Director of the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies, a think-tank based in Ijebu Ode, Nigeria. He was also the founding Executive Director of the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies (ACDESS).
Adedeji was involved in community issues in Ijebu-Ode and became the Asiwaju of Ijebuland. He was also the chief adviser of the Ijebu Ode monarch, Oba Sikiru Adetona.
He was a senior colleague before he went to join General Yakubu Gowon’s cabinet and later on joined the United Nations. He served Nigeria in several capacities as a scholar, teacher, minister and international civil servant. We must not forget that he was also appointed by the Murtala Muhammed regime to chair a panel to prepare a report and review Nigeria’s foreign policy. So his talent was used considerably, ”.
"His roles in ECOWAS, as well as the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) which later became the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), were demonstrations of his zeal for the advancement of Africa.
"He also did not relent in his determination to ensure the growth of his home town, Ijebu Ode, through his remarkable contributions as the Director of the African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies, a think-tank NGO based in the community".
Prof Adebayo Adedeji died on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 in Lagos after a protracted illness. He was aged 87.
Rest In Peace.